Our client is responsible for rolling out superfast broadband across the West Yorkshire region. In addition to this they are also responsible for co-ordinating and promoting funded schemes that provide significant business benefit and growth opportunities for small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
This included; a connection voucher programme offering grants to businesses to assist meet the upfront capital costs of a high-speed broadband connection, a business support programme which is an ERDF funded scheme providing a combination of workshops and one-to-one business support to eligible businesses, and lastly, additional masterclasses funded by the Digital Enterprise Programme aimed at supporting organisations to help them invest new technology and learn new digital skills.
What they needed
Our client was responsible for boosting productivity and economic growth in the region, and creating and retaining local job opportunities through delivering the roll out of broadband to some of those less commercially viable areas. The aim was to increase the coverage of superfast broadband to 97% of premises within the intervention area.
To assist with the promotion of the programme, our client had to liase with multiple project stakeholders and delivery partners to evidence that a target number of businesses were informed & engaged, to exploit digital technology and innovation for growth. We were tasked with assisting with the promotion of the three interlinking programmes and generating demand for superfast broadband, while ensuring all eligibility checks were adhered to – given that each programme had slightly different eligibility criteria. This included raising awareness of the support available & connectivity through demand stimulation targets, education of SME’s through encouraging attendance at digital skills masterclasses, and well as assisting with the onboarding of SME’s, encouraging the take up of Connection Vouchers, one-to-one support, participation in business support programmes and supporting application process. Our client was required to evidence all of the work completed on the programme to engage SME’s for the multiple partners and stakeholders involved.
What we did
It was important to ensure all businesses contacted were relevant and eligible for each of the funded programmes so we began by firstly profiling a database of relevant businesses using key indicators such as postcode, employee size and sector to help establish relevancy. We needed to prioritise the data available to get the best return within the specified budget.
Managing the data in this way, helped us to understand overlap between projects and target each business with the mix of support and funding relevant to them and which they were eligible for. We targeted those areas with most crossover first so we could maximise the budget by generating the highest output possible over a given number of calls. Our flexible, unscripted style on the phone enabled us to engage effectively with the multiple decision makers to generate qualified interest. We helped to increase quality engagement by ensuring prospects had a more complete understanding of the programmes by linking them back to how they would benefit the business.
By communicating fully, the next steps involved for taking part in the programmes, as well as what would be required from each business, we were able to ensure dropout was as low as possible. It was important also to ensure that any interest was progressed in the most relevant way – whether this be a face to face appointment, attendance at a workshop or an expression of interest. For the workshops, we managed the full engagement process for the campaign. Using both email and telephone contact, we nurtured contacts initially raising awareness and establishing interest, answering questions, communicating key benefits of the workshops and then converting this into registrations. Ultimately ensuring that these registrations converted into actual attendees and a genuine participation in the programmes longer term. We worked flexibly with our client throughout to ensure that targets were met across the multiple outputs.
What we achieved
The initial campaign was highly successful and as a result was extended twice. Across the course of the activity we achieved multiple outputs across all the strands of the campaign, including confirming 350 bookings for masterclasses, events and workshops as part of the ERDF and Digital Skills Fund funded business support. We also distributed 128 connection voucher codes to eligible businesses interested in accessing grant funding and encouraged interest in 158 businesses to upgrade to superfast broadband in areas covered by our clients roll out (demand generation).
In total, compared to the targets originally set for the campaign, we over-performed by 27.2%. The success of the campaign meant that even after the project was completed we have continued to work with some of the partner organisations on other projects. A value add for the campaign was a database of businesses engaged and enhanced with all the data we had confirmed and gathered over the course of the campaign.
We continue to work with a number of project stakeholders and partners on other projects and have also helped to pave the way for future funded programmes whereby the evidence gathered has supported project goals and outcomes.